Jul 19, 2011

The Journey: The Levi Jacket

I spent my 8th, 9th, & 10th grade year living in a logging camp seven miles outside of Hoonah, Alaska. Hoonah was a small fishing village of about 800 people. At the time I would've told you living there was the worst torture ever devised by a parent, but looking back through the lens of time I can see that it wasn't so bad. I was able to experience the wonder that is Southeast Alaska.

There was a handful of us kids that ran around together. It wasn't so much that we liked each other; but we were all we had. With such a small population you didn't have a lot of options in friends. Looking back though, those were some of the best friendships I ever had. (Am I the only one hearing Richard Dreyfuss's narration from "Stand By Me" in their head?)

The outerwear of choice for us was a Levi jean jacket. I always wore mine with the sleeves rolled up 2 1/2 times. For the weather of Southeast, it wasn't a great choice. When it got wet, it absorbed the water and tripled in weight. And since we lived in a temperate rain forest, it got wet a lot.

But all the pockets were great. You had a spot for your wallet, Walkman, a soda & and a candy bar. Oh, for those of you under 30; you'll want to click here and see how we used to kick it old school...

These jackets had a little red Levi tag on the left breast pocket. The tag was folded over and you could tease the fold and open up a little loop. We would take a .22 bullet and slip it into the loop. It took some patience & and a little pressure to get it in there because it was a tight fit. This may sound a little silly, but for us it was high redneck fashion. And since we were 1,500 miles from a decent mall, it worked.

And it couldn't be just any .22 bullet. It had to be a hollow point, preferably Remington brand. I'm not sure why we did that... I seem to remember some discussion about it being a bullet of last resort. But It's not like you were going to take out a bear with a .22. And even if you happen to have a .22 rifle in your hands and a bear was charging you, there was no way in the world you were going to be able pull that bullet back out of that loop. It was wedged in there way too tight.

What does this little trip down memory lane have to do with the Journey? A few years back, in a fit of nostalgia I bought myself a Levi jean jacket. I got the biggest size they had and it fit at the time. But as a I got fatter and finally hit 371 pounds, it was a long way from fitting. I could get it on, but there was no way I was getting it buttoned up. Or moving my arms.

So a couple of weeks ago a friend called me up and asked if I wanted to go out shooting. As I was gathering up bullets & guns, I reached into the closet for a coat & grabbed the jean jacket. When I put it on, I was shocked. The thing was huge on me!! I almost didn't wear it because it fit so loose.

Yes, I've stalled on the Journey since returning from Hawaii in early May. And yes, I still have at least 100 pounds still to lose. But putting on that jacket reminded me that I had lost 50 pounds. I've come a long way. It hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it. Oh, and for the record, my current jacket doesn't have a bullet in its little tag. But that's only because this particular style of jacket doesn't have the tag.

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